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Transylvania’s Morlan Gallery opens "The Illustrious Horse" exhibition in celebration of the World Equestrian Games

 Illustrious Horse
Video artist Valerie Fuchs drew inspiration for her work, above, from Rosa Bonheur’s original sketchbook, below right.

LEXINGTON, Ky.—In celebration of the World Equestrian Games, the Morlan Gallery proudly presents “The Illustrious Horse: Kentucky Artists Respond to the Clara Peck Collection,” an invitational exhibit of critically renowned contemporary artists from Kentucky. Twelve visual artists and one poet were asked to creatively respond to a horse image found in Transylvania University’s esteemed Clara Peck Collection. The Peck Collection, located in the Rare Book Room of Transylvania University’s library, houses collectable books dealing with the history of the horse and natural history.

Exhibition participants are sculptor Steve Armstrong (Lexington); painter Gaela Erwin (Louisville); conceptual artist Kurt Gohde (Lexington); drawing and mixed media artist Michael Goodlett (Wilmore); video artist Valerie Fuchs (Louisville); photographer Guy Mendes (Lexington); painter Lennon Michalski (Lexington); fiber artist Arturo Sandoval (Lexington); conceptual artist Zoé Strecker (Harrodsburg); drawing and mixed media artist Lawrence Tarpey (Lexington); sculptor Travis Townsend (Richmond); sculptor Lavon Van Williams (Lexington); and poet Richard Taylor (Frankfort).

 Illustrious Horse
Original Rosa Bonheur sketchbook.

These artists innovatively respond to the uncommon and diverse visual imagery of the Peck Collection. For example, Steve Armstrong replies to George Stubbs’ “1766 Anatomy of a Horse,” a virtuosic collection of drawings; Lennon Michaslski answers to “Hortusan Itatis” (Garden of Health), a rare illuminated manuscript from 1400; and video artist Valerie Fuchs finds inspiration from Rosa Bonheur’s original artist’s sketchbook, complete with the initial studies for her masterwork “The Horse Fair.” Known as one of the greatest animal painters of the 19th century, Bonheur’s “Horse Fair” currently hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kentucky Poet Laureate (1999-2001) Richard Taylor responds in writing to Edward Troye’s painting of the thoroughbred Lexington, the most successful sire during the second half of the nineteenth century. Born in 1808, Troye is an eminent artist who painted America’s most distinguished horses for 40 years.

The Morlan Gallery will have extended exhibition hours during the World Equestrian Games (Sept. 26 -Oct. 9): weekdays noon-8 p.m.; weekends noon-5 p.m. and the gallery will be open from 5-8 p.m. on September 17 for the Lexington Gallery Hop. Regular gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. weekdays, closed weekends. For more information, contact gallery director Andrea Fisher at (859) 233-8142 or

Special Events
All events are in the gallery (unless noted) and are free and open to the public.

September 30, 12:15-1 p.m. Contributing artists and professors Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova discuss their work in the exhibit.

October 2, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Children’s author Patsi Trollinger will read “Perfect Timing: How Isaac Murphy Became One of the World’s Greatest Jockeys.” Books available for purchase, cash or check only please.

October 7, 12:15-1 p.m. Valerie Fuchs, video artist, and Lennon Michalski, painter, discuss their work in the exhibit.

October 9, 12:20-1:30 p.m.
Middle school author Heather Henson will read “Dream of Night,” where three lives and three story lines merge as readers get to know a former racehorse, a 12-year-old girl, and a middle-aged woman. Books available for purchase, cash or check only please.

October 14, 12:15-1 p.m. Guy Mendes, photographer, and Lawrence Tarpey, illustrator/painter, discuss their work in the exhibit.

October 18, 6-7:30 p.m. in Transylvania’s library. Author Genevieve Baird Lacer will read from and sign her book, “Edward Troye, Painter of Thoroughbred Stories.” Books available for purchase, cash or check only please. A reception in the Morlan Gallery will follow. Free and open to the public, but RSVPs to Bobbi Silver, director of major gifts, at (859) 233-8738 or are strongly encouraged.